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Queensland driver who had a terrifying encounter with a brown snake while speeding has been fired

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A tradesman who killed a deadly brown snake as it attacked him in his ute while driving at 100km/h has relived the terrifying experience.    

Father-of-one James ‘Jimmy’ Canhan, 27, fended off the reptile while travelling along the Dawson Highway near Calliope, six hours north of Brisbane, on June 15.  

He was forced to kill the snake while driving by trapping it between his leg and the car seat and stabbing the reptile with his work knife.  

Thinking he was bitten, he began speeding to hospital but was pulled over by a police officer who clocked him at 123km/h. 

Mr Canhan’s explanation was recorded by the officer’s bodycam and uploaded to Queensland Police’s Facebook page last week, where it has 1.3 million views.  

NBN technician James 'Jimmy' Canhan (pictured), 27, was attacked by an eastern brown snake in his car while driving down the Dawson Highway west of Calliope, six hours north of Brisbane, on June 15

NBN technician James ‘Jimmy’ Canhan (pictured), 27, was attacked by an eastern brown snake in his car while driving down the Dawson Highway west of Calliope, six hours north of Brisbane, on June 15

The NBN installer had finished a service call on a rural property in Biloela when the owner allowed him to explore a cave system on the site. 

‘I was just keen to get out and explore and I just walked away from the car, I left both doors open,’ Mr Canhan told A Current Affair

Mr Canhan suspects the snake slithered into his ute while he was away exploring and was awoken during the bumpy ride off the rural property. 

While driving down the highway, the snake began attacking Mr Canhan. 

‘I feel a banging on my leg, almost like the same impact as like a heavy water drop,’ he said.

‘I look down and it’s something out of the Chamber of Secrets in the passenger seat beside me. It’s up at me and it’s just striking me, basically, from the front.’ 

Mr Canhan explains he thinks he was bitten by a snake to a police officer after being pulled over for speeding on his way to hospital

Mr Canhan explains he thinks he was bitten by a snake to a police officer after being pulled over for speeding on his way to hospital 

The snake was so long it had wrapped his calf and shin as well as the gear stick, which meant Mr Canhan was stuck driving at 100kmh.  

He grabbed his work knife and trapped the snake between hit calf and the seat before driving the blade into the reptile, killing it. 

‘That day it was just, it was him or me,’ he said.  

‘I just had to do what I had to do. It’s not something I’d normally do but he wanted to drive and I was driving, so it wasn’t going to happen.’ 

After killing the snake, Mr Canhan dumped it in his ute tray and began racing to hospital, fearing he had been bitten by the snake. 

The reptile was an eastern brown snake, which is the second-most venomous land snake in the world. 

A picture of the eastern brown snake that snuck into Mr Canhan's car. He plans to get the head preserved and made into a gear stick head to remember the incident

A picture of the eastern brown snake that snuck into Mr Canhan’s car. He plans to get the head preserved and made into a gear stick head to remember the incident

But Mr Canhan did not make it to hospital.

In police bodycam footage of the incident, Mr Canhan explained to the officer who pulled him over how he killed the brown snake and feared he had been bitten.  

The officer called for an ambulance who quickly arrived and found that Mr Canhan had not been bitten and was just in shock. 

‘It was pretty terrifying. I’ve never been so happy to see red and blue lights,’ Mr Canhan said in the clip.   

Mr Canhan’s explanation was recorded by the officer’s bodycam and uploaded to Queensland Police’s Facebook page last week, where it has 1.3 million views. 

But Mr Canhan said his employer sacked him shortly after the footage emerged, leaving him unemployed and without his company car. 

Mr Canhan and his six-year-old daughter Annabelle, who is deeply relieved that her father survived the ordeal, saying 'If he died, I died, cause were family'

Mr Canhan and his six-year-old daughter Annabelle, who is deeply relieved that her father survived the ordeal, saying ‘If he died, I died, cause were family’

‘My boss called me and said I didn’t have a job anymore, when I was just spending time with my daughter Annabelle, who lives with her mum in Townsville, and didn’t have work on anyway,’ Mr Canhan told The Courier Mail

‘I rang up to schedule some more work and they said no, we’re coming to get the company car. I had a company car, so I sold my own car and now I’m left with nothing to drive. 

‘So now I’ve got no job and I have my daughter to help support. My dog needs to go to vet for his ear, and I just want to get my finances sorted out to pay for it.’

Although Mr Canhan was caught speeding, he was not fined or charged over the incident given the exceptional circumstances.   

While Queensland Police has enjoyed a viral video from the incident, it has seemingly come at the cost of Mr Canhan’s employment. 

A Queensland Police spokeswoman said they sought Mr Canhan’s permission to post the footage online and that he had given his consent. 

Queensland Police said while this was a ‘particularly unique situation’ it issued a reminder that it was illegal to kill or capture snakes. 

While Mr Canhan is out of work, his six-year-old daughter Annabelle is just happy he is alive. 

‘If he died, I died, cause were family. We’re the same people. And we’re both the same strong, strong, strong,’ Annabelle told A Current Affair.

Mr Canhan is now seeking new employment and is prepared to do any job.

He has a wide range of experience working for NRW Civil and Mining, doing machine work, bar tending and installing the NBN – as well as having a platinum customer service rating with the his previous company. 

Anyone who wants to employ Mr Canhan can contact him at jim291092@gmail.com. 

Queensland Police said while this was a 'particularly unique situation' it issued a reminder that it was illegal to kill or capture snakes

Queensland Police said while this was a ‘particularly unique situation’ it issued a reminder that it was illegal to kill or capture snakes

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